Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon emission in Spitzer/IRS maps. II. A direct link between band profiles and the radiation field strength.
STOCK D.J. and PEETERS E.
Abstract (from CDS):
We decompose the observed 7.7 µm polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) emission complexes in a large sample of over 7000 mid-infrared spectra of the interstellar medium using spectral cubes observed with the Spitzer/IRS-SL instrument. In order to fit the 7.7 µm PAH emission complex we invoke four Gaussian components, which are found to be very stable in terms of their peak positions and widths across all of our spectra, and subsequently define a decomposition with fixed parameters, which gives an acceptable fit for all the spectra. We see a strong environmental dependence on the interrelationships between our band fluxes-in the H II regions all four components are intercorrelated, while in the reflection nebulae (RNs) the inner and outer pairs of bands correlate in the same manner as previously seen for NGC 2023. We show that this effect arises because the maps of RNs are dominated by emission from strongly irradiated photodissociation regions, while the much larger maps of H II regions are dominated by emission from regions much more distant from the exciting stars, leading to subtly different spectral behavior. Further investigation of this dichotomy reveals that the ratio of two of these components (centered at 7.6 and 7.8 µm) is linearly related to the UV-field intensity (log G0). We find that this relationship does not hold for sources consisting of circumstellar material, which are known to have variable 7.7 µm spectral profiles.